I’ve been on a crazy barley kick lately; I just can’t get enough of the half chewy, half tender little grains. To be honest, it had been forever and then some since I’d last had barley, and it seems like the second I took my first bite a couple of weeks ago, I became completely obsessed with it. So I hope you won’t mind if I happen to share a few recipes involving barley over the course of the next couple of weeks…
In fact, I’ve already started to share the love with my Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto, for which I posted the recipe a few days ago; and now I give you this crazy good, Oven Roasted Cauliflower Sweet Potato Barley Salad.
Seriously, this salad has such a unique flavor and texture combination profile, with hints of cumin, chipotle peppers and fresh coriander, which pair beautifully well with the nuttiness of the cauliflower, the creamy sweetness of the sweet potatoes and tanginess of the lemon. The textures for their part are just as diverse, ranging from creamy and buttery to crunchy and chewy… Plus, look at how beautiful this dish is, with its vibrant colors and all!
The recipe will serve quite a few people, especially if you’re going to serve it as a side (although it totally does the job as a vegetarian main, trust me!) but the beauty of it is that it is equally good fresh out of the ice box as it is fresh out of the oven.
I’ve no doubt that your family will totally adopt this one!
Since barley takes a little bit of time to cook, you’re gonna want to start by doing that. There are several good methods that you could use to cook barley, but my personal favorite is to rinse the grains thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear and then cook it, uncovered, in a generous amount of salted boiling water until the grains are chewy but tender, about 45 minutes.
I then drain it and, in this case, rinse it under cold water until it’s completely cooled.
While the barley is cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F and then combine the cauliflower florets, sweet potatoes, red onion, olive oil and spices in a bowl. Mix well and arrange the veggies on a large 18″ x 26″ baking sheet.
If you don’t feel like dirtying/washing an extra bowl, you could also mix the oil and spices together in a measuring cup (which will take up close to no space at all in the dishwasher!) and drizzle the whole thing over the veggies directly in the pan, then toss everything to coat.
Roast the veggies in the preheated oven for 20 minutes then take the pan out, stir the veggies around and add the chopped walnuts to the pan…
…then throw in about half the cooked barley; return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes.
Arrange the rest of the cooked barley in a serving dish and then top with the roasted veggies as soon as they come out of the oven.
Garnish the warm salad with a handful of chopped cilantro, some lime and lemon wedges and serve without delay.
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 6-8 cups salted water (to cook the barley)
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into thick quarter slices
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp chipotle powder
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Limes and lemon wedges
- Rinse the barley thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear; cook uncovered in a large amount of salted boiling water until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until completely cooled.
- While the barley is cooking, preheat the oven to 425°F; combine the cauliflower florets, sweet potatoes, red onion, olive oil and spices in a bowl, mix well and arrange on a 18" x 26" baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes then stir the veggies around, add the chopped walnuts and half the cooked barley to the pan and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Arrange the rest of the cooked barley in a serving dish and then top with the roasted veggies as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Garnish with the chopped cilantro, lime and lemon wedges and serve without delay.